Cormorants, also known as shags, belong to the Phalacrocoracidae family. Medium to large birds that inhabit coastal areas and prey on fish by diving underwater; usually for an average of 20 seconds. This birds are known to live in colonies and even forage in groups, cleverly beating water to scare fish towards the shore where they are more vulnerable. Their plumage is mostly dark, but depending on the species some may present some color.
Ecuador has three species of cormorants recorded. Phalacrocorax harris or Flightless Cormorant, Leucocarbo bougainvillii or Guanay Cormorant and the magnificent Phalacrocorax brasilianus or Neotropic Cormorant. Each has adapted to different conditions and has a particularly of its own.
The Flightless Cormorant is endemic of the Galápagos Islands. Due to abundant food near the coastal line, this blue eyed bird has lost its ability to fly, it dives underwater by propelling itself using webbed feet and pray no further than 200 meters offshore. This species is the largest of its family reaching 40 inches in length; unlike its wings which are considerably smaller than the ones found in other species.
They Guanay Cormorant is found in the Pacific Coast of South America, recorded from Chile all the way up to Panama. This bird is the biggest guano producer; which in kichwa identifies any excrement used as an agricultural fertilizer, something that was given great importance by the Inca Empire.
The Neotropic Cormorant inhabits the tropics and subtropics in North and South America. This bird with dark plumage and a yellow neck patch has adapted to live in freshwater rivers and lakes. It preys on small fish and amphibians near shallow waters. The Biguá, as it's known locally, is monogamous and breeds in colonies. It's wingspan can reach 40 inches, creating an amazing show when flying in V-shaped groups over the beautiful Amazonian skies.
Our guests can discover more about the Neotropic cormorant aboard of our ships. Do not be shy and join our Amazon Expeditions along the majestic Napo River.